Free Spirit Hi S Carp Feeder fishing rod

If fishing rods came with a pedigree, Free Spirit’s new Hi S Match rods would be pinnacles of the tackle trade aristocracy. 

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The company’s equally well-connected Hi S Carp rods have long been considered be the best that money can buy.

Free Spirit entered the match, pleasure, and specialist arena around three years ago with its mid-priced CTX range. But it was surely only a matter of time before match rods with the same top-spec build and quality carbon as the Hi S Carp rods entered the fray.

The comprehensive 16-rod Match range first saw the light at last year’s The Big One show, where those that saw them – me included – were wowed by their modern looks, quality fittings and almost frightening transmission of ‘feel’ through the blanks. 

All are constructed from ultra-low-resin 40t carbon with woven butt sections. This makes them extremely light to hold, yet extremely strong. 

The unique ‘Perdurable’ finish does away with paint or lacquer– it’s just the carbon, which is made to be ultra-resistant to damage and helps the rods to retain their showroom looks. 

Hi S Carp Feeder rods (the 11ft version of which was on live test duty) are all fitted with high-end Kigan Z guides along the blanks themselves, while the quivertips bear anti-frap MZ rings that reduce the chances of the reel line or shockleader catching in them and causing a crack-off. 

Something else that makes these rods that little bit different is their unique hollow quivertips. These eliminate any flat spots, since there is no abrupt transition from solid tip through to hollow blank – instead you get a seamless, progressive action. 

To that lot you can add Fuji skeletal-style reel seats with a cut-away forward finger area, giving added feel and control when playing fish. Carp rod-style abbreviated handles allow easy directional changes when playing a hard-fighting fish close to the net, and ‘fold-friendly’ guide spacing allows you to break down a rod with reel and rig in situ. 

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Add all that up and you have to agree that Hi S Carp Feeder rods are a bit special. 

Not only do they look classily different, they also feel and behave differently in the hand.

This was instantly apparent on the live test. The two-piece 11ft Carp Feeder rod is so slim in the butt section just above the handle – just 150mm in circumference – that it doesn’t look capable of casting a small float, never mind a feeder. How wrong can you be!

Not only will it chuck 3oz (85g) feeders with some ease, but it will propel them an awfully long way, certainly far enough to cope with most commercial venues. 

The rod’s progressive action is equally admirable – the hollow quivertip gives it a seamless curvature, and it has enough power in its locker to cope with everything from F1s on light gear, through to big girls on heavy Method tactics. 

The cut-away reel seat allows you to feel every movement of a hooked fish, and while the abbreviated handle may not be to everyone’s taste, it balances perfectly with the blank and is just the ticket for winding up a cast or piling on the pressure when it’s needed. 

Mark Sawyer

PAY AROUND
£280 (abbreviated handle)
£300 (full cork handle)

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Maver Diamond Feeder fishing rod review

SHORT feeder rods are still very much in vogue on commercial fisheries and the 10ft 6ins version of the new Maver Diamond Feeder rods are no exception.  

BUY NOW from £179.99 from Chapmans Angling

Super-accurate on the cast, they can be tucked down the side of a platform out of the wind, and are that bit easier all round to handle when elbow room is at a premium.

Provided you’re not faced with a seriously long chuck, rods like this will cast far enough to put you on the fish on most commercials. And, needless to say, they are ideal for Method tactics in the margins where really big fish are about.

Maver’s latest Diamond Feeder 10ft 6ins rod, in two sections, is the perfect length for most commercial feeder and straight lead tactics.

It’s one of four in the range, all boasting high-modulus carbon, cork handle with EVA casting and thumb grips, low-profile lined ceramic guides and the ever-handy folding keeper ring. You also get three graded carbon quivertips. 

Unlike a number of other shorter rods that I have tested, Maver’s 10ft 6ins Diamond Feeder has the casting clout to propel a 30g flatbed Method feeder a decent distance with a fair degree of accuracy. I proved this during a live test at Decoy’s mixed-stock Horseshoe Lake… and before any of you familiar with this venue clamour that this lake hasn’t got a long cast on it, I also spent some time casting different weights and distances on the much larger Beastie Lake. 

My findings weren’t all that different from Maver’s recommendations, but in my opinion the blank’s limits are being pushed with anything over 60g (2oz) chucked 60 yards. 

To be honest, that’s more than enough power and distance for most day-ticket fisheries. A huge plus point is the rod’s non-locking, progressive action with no flat spots. 

As you can see from the picture, it tightens up really quickly from a third of the way down the top section, putting you in command when a fish is at the net. 

Despite this the rod is not overly stiff, and you’d need to be really clumsy to suffer many hook-pulls. As Dame Shirley Bassey sang, ‘Diamonds are forever’…and sure enough, this rod’s a keeper!  

THE VERDICT
The delightful jet black Diamond Feeder gets a huge thumbs-up from me. It’s everything you could wish for. It’ll cast a fair distance when you need to, it’s super-accurate at short range, and it can be used with a wide choice of weights for tactical flexibility. At just 181g it’s very light, and its progressive action combines controlled pulling power with enough softness to make it suitable for reel lines from 4lb to 8lb, with hooklengths down to 0.12mm. 

Mark Sawyer
 

Korum 13ft carp float rod

Tech spec

  • Weight: 325g
  • Line Rating: 8lb - 15lb
  • Eight ceramic line guides
  • Full cork handles
  • Heavy parabolic action
  • Matt black finish

Now here’s something a little bit different from Korum, a new range of Carp Float rods in 12ft and 13ft lengths.

With 1.5lb and 1.75lb test curves, what’s so unusual about that, you may ask? Well, they are intended to put the fun and pleasure back into carp fishing, by enabling anglers to use stealthy float tactics rather than today’s more usual straight lead or Method feeder approaches. 

The K-Flex carbon blanks have a powerful parabolic action that kicks in steadily as pressure is applied, and both rods will handle big carp with aplomb. Other key features include matt black livery, full cork handles, and rugged nylon reel seats with black metal hoods. You also get eight light, double-legged ceramic-lined guides.

The downside is that such a powerful progressive action reduces casting capabilities a tad, so if you’re harbouring notions of using one to plonk a 4AA waggler 30 yards out, forget it. They will indeed reach such distances, and more besides, but only when partnered with heavier floats from 20g upwards.

That’s not a negative in my book, as I reckon their longer lengths and superb action make these ideal stalking rods –  the extra reach can be used to delicately present a baited hook close to marginal reeds or snags.

I can already hear mutterings that most stalking rods are short 7ft to 9ft affairs for dropping leads and PVA bags into holes in weed. But find a reed-fringed lake, get your chest waders on and put a few free offerings into likely looking spots. Chances are you’ll find a few fish feeding, and now you can silently drop a bait right on top of their noses, with instant and explosive results.

The reed-fringed waters of Willowbrook Lake in Northants play host to plenty of decent-sized fish that like to roam around the margins looking for spilled feed. So on a quiet Monday morning, armed with little more than a landing net and a boxful of corn, I wandered around the fishery with the 13ft Korum Carp Float rod. 

Twitching lily stems revealed something moving down below, so I scattered a few grains of corn over the area and lowered in a small straight waggler shotted with three No8s spread down the line. Instantly my double corn hookbait was snaffled, and in a torrent of spray and boils the fish bolted off, leaving a wake worthy of any torpedo. 

This is the moment when any carp rod worth its salt steps up to the mark. Tightening down on the reel’s clutch and holding the rod on the horizontal plane, I applied side strain that slowly but surely brought the fish to a halt. 

The rod’s heavy parabolic action had more than done its job in tiring the carp, yet at the net it had enough flexibility in the tip to absorb my quarry’s last-minute lunges without risk of a hook-pull or a parting of the line.

Price | 13ft £44.99 | 12ft £42.99 |

Angling Times verdict

What a great rod from Korum this is! It’s loads of fun to use, with exactly the right blend of fish-playing power and finesse, and perfect for margin fishing when really big fish are on the cards. Its two-piece build means it can be easily carried to the bank ready made up, and is therefore ideal for a short evening stalking session with a float in the margins.

Mark Sawyer